August 04, 2023
A vital trend is reshaping the landscape of the American economy: the reshoring of manufacturing. Driven by a multitude of factors, this transition is ushering in a new era for the United States, bringing production lines back home. In this post, we delve deeper into the trend, analyzing its key drivers and the implications for technology adoption in the industry.
The Reshoring Trend in Numbers
According to the Reshoring Initiative, more than 1,000 companies have reshored to the U.S. between 2010 and 2020, effectively re-creating approximately 700,000 jobs. A 2021 study from Kearney emphasized this upward trajectory, showing U.S. domestic manufacturing's share of gross output increasing for the first time since 2016.
In 2023, an estimated 200 additional companies have reshored, revealing a persistent and robust trend. The automotive industry, medical devices, and electronics have taken the lead, accounting collectively for about 40% of these reshoring initiatives.
Delving Deeper into the Drivers of Reshoring
Let's take a more detailed look at what's driving this change:
Historically, one of the primary motives for offshoring was lower production costs, especially labor. However, the economic landscape has shifted. The wage gap between the U.S. and traditionally low-cost countries, such as China and India, has been decreasing. Simultaneously, logistics and shipping costs have been escalating due to higher fuel prices and supply chain disruptions, negating the cost advantages of overseas production.
Supply Chain Resilience
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of extensive and intricate international supply chains. By reshoring, manufacturers can shorten their supply chains, enhance their adaptability to disruptions, and improve their ability to respond swiftly to shifts in demand or supply. This agility proves invaluable in uncertain times and is a strong motivator for reshoring.
Quality and Branding
The "Made in the USA" label carries a powerful appeal for many consumers who perceive it as an indicator of high-quality products. Moreover, an increasing number of consumers are demonstrating a willingness to pay a premium for goods produced under rigorous labor standards and with lower environmental footprints—both of which are associated with domestic manufacturing.
Governments have a crucial role in this reshoring trend. Federal and local administrations have offered various incentives, such as tax breaks, loans, and policy measures, to encourage domestic manufacturing. Such initiatives make reshoring a more attractive and feasible option for companies.
Access to Innovation and Advanced Technologies
America is a hotbed for innovation and technological advancements, particularly in automation, AI, and robotics. Reshoring enables companies to tap into these technologies more effectively, driving productivity, and reducing labor costs.
Intellectual Property (IP) Protection
Offshoring can expose companies to the risk of intellectual property (IP) theft. By reshoring, companies can better safeguard their IP, given the stricter enforcement of IP laws in the U.S.
Technology Adoption and ERP Systems
The reshoring trend presents an opportunity for companies to reassess their technological needs and investments. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, in particular, are gaining traction. These comprehensive solutions streamline operations, enhance efficiency, provide real-time data, and thereby support decision-making processes—further incentivizing the reshoring move.
Here's how the reshoring movement is impacting technology solutions, particularly ERP software.
Accelerating Digital Transformation
Reshoring often necessitates a reevaluation of existing processes and infrastructure, creating a unique opportunity to drive digital transformation. This includes the implementation or upgrading of ERP systems, which are crucial for managing complex manufacturing operations. These comprehensive solutions can streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and provide real-time visibility into the manufacturing process.
Improved Integration and Standardization
With production facilities closer to home, companies can more easily standardize and integrate their operations, including their ERP systems. This can lead to greater efficiency, better data accuracy, and improved decision-making capabilities.
Enhancing Agility and Responsiveness
ERP systems offer manufacturers the tools they need to be agile and responsive. With real-time data and advanced analytics, manufacturers can quickly respond to changes in demand, supply chain disruptions, and other challenges. This is particularly valuable in a reshoring context, where the ability to adapt quickly can be a key competitive advantage.
Reshoring Success Stories
Several companies have made successful strides in reshoring their operations:
- Reshoring has enabled Bath & Body Works products to become fully 'Made in America', and the company has reduced production time for a $7.95 bottle of hand soap from 3 months down to 21 days, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
- In 2021, Intel announced a $20 billion investment to build two new chip factories in Arizona, relying heavily on their robust ERP system to manage complex semiconductor manufacturing processes, as noted by Reuters.
- Element Electronics returned TV manufacturing to the U.S., leveraging an advanced ERP solution for its new factory operations in South Carolina.
The reshoring trend, while promising, brings its challenges, such as the need for skilled labor and the upfront costs of technology investments. However, with strategic investment in education, training, and policy support, the reshoring trend can create a more resilient, sustainable, and prosperous U.S. manufacturing sector. It's not just about job creation—it's a broader shift in business strategy that recognizes the importance of domestic production for economic stability, national security, and long-term growth. Keep a close eye on this evolving narrative—it's one trend that is here to stay.
REST A'SHORED' WITH an industry-specific ERP
Is your manufacturing company reshoring? Implementing an ERP solution designed FOR manufacturers, BY manufacturers is a great way to facilitate such a transition.
Infor CloudSuite Industrial (CSI) offers a robust and flexible ERP solution that has helped manufacturers worldwide streamline operations and outperform the competition.